The team made the trip up to Penitentes yesterday and is hiking in to their first camp today. They took an extra day in Mendoza as they ran around looking for gear to replace the equipment of Greg’s that did not arrive on his flight. Fortunately, with help from the rest of the team, they were able to build a suitable kit and head up towards the trailhead.
They spent last night at the ski resort of “Penitentes,” a European-style hotel and restaurant, which is a short drive from the start of their hike. The afternoon was spent finalizing the packing of their gear and sorting things for the mules that will transport the majority of their kit up to base camp. Following the weighing of duffel bags and blue barrels, they enjoyed a dinner at the restaurant, took their last showers for a couple of weeks and got to bed in anticipation of today’s 8 mile hike in to their first camp.
Chris will call in this evening and we’ll post an update from the team after we hear how the day went. They probably spent about 5-6 hours on the trail, covering about 8 miles and gaining almost no elevation from where they spent last night. The Vacas Valley, through which they are hiking is very reminiscent of parts of the Grand Canyon in the southwestern US, and is replete with cacti, scrub grasses and chuckawalla lizards.